ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Bava Kama 80
(a) When Raban Gamliel's Talmidim asked him whether one was permitted to
rear small animals in Eretz Yisrael, he replied in the affirmative. This is
obviously a misquotation. What they really asked him was - whether one may
retain such an animal in case of need?
(b) He permitted it on condition that the animal was kept tied to one's
(c) The Rabbanan disagree.
(a) That Chasid followed the opinion of Raban Gamliel - because he had acute
heartache that caused him to groan with pain, and the doctors informed him
that the only cure was to suck warm milk fresh from a goat each morning. -
(b) When his colleagues came to pay him a visit and saw the goat - they
questioned whether it was correct to visit a man who kept an armed robber in
his house. Note, this was not a case of life-danger (Agados Maharsha).
(c) They subsequently examined all his past deeds - and came to the
conclusion that this was the only sin that he had ever committed.
(d) At the time of his death - he corroborated what his colleagues had said.
(a) According to Rebbi Yishmael's own testimony, his father's family was
wiped out (besides the fact that they would allow their small animals to
graze in the forest) - because they tended to judge money-matters on their
own (without a Beis-Din of three - contravening the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos
which warns 'Do not be a single judge, because there is only One single
(b) Despite the fact that grazing small animals in a forest is permitted,
Rebbi Yishmael's family was punished - because there was a field belonging
to someone else adjoining the forest, which was subject to their animals'
(a) The Beraisa say that if a shepherd contravenes the above Halachah and
subsequently does Teshuvah - he is not obligated to sell all his stocks in
one go, but is permitted to sell them off slowly (so as not to discourage
him from doing Teshuvah).
(b) This concession also applies to a convert who inherited dogs or
(c) A similar Halachah applies to someone who declared a Neder to purchase a
house or to get married in Eretz Yisrael - who, despite the principle
'Zerizim Makdimin', is not obligated to purchase the first house or to marry
the first woman that becomes available.
(d) A certain woman declared that she would marry the first man who came
along - because her son was causing her a lot of trouble. When unsuitable
suitors arrived at her door, the Chachamim ruled - that it was obvious that
this was not what she meant, and allowed her to pick a decent husband.
(a) There is no difference between small Beheimos and small Chayos (such as
deer and foxes) regarding the above Halachah. Both are forbidden to rear in
(b) Rebbi Yishmael (or Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar) permits keeping small dogs,
cats, monkeys and Chuldos Sena'im (weasels) in the house - because they
serve as a deterrent against mice.
(c) The alternative explanation of 'Kelavim Kufrim' to small dogs is - large
hunting-dogs, which are harmless to humans.
(d) The mark of 'Chuldos Sena'im' - which are found in the shrubbery, is
that they posses thin legs, conveying the impression that their legs are
long (even though they are not [see Tosfos DH 'di'Ketini Shakei']).
(a) Rav made a statement that Bavel had adopted the standard of Eretz
Yisrael with regard to rearing small animals - because since the time of
Galus Yechonyah, many Jews had been living there, creating a situation
similar to the Yishuv of Eretz Yisrael.
(b) When Rav Ada bar Ahavah queried Rav Huna for keeping a small animal in
the house - he replied that his wife Chovah kept an eye on it.
(c) Rav Ada's reaction to Rav Huna's reply was to declare that Chovah would
bury her son, since she was not competent to prevent it from doing damage
(though it is unclear why we need to come on to that). As a result, Chovah
bore Rav Huna no children as long as Rav Ada bar Ahavah was alive.
(d) According to the second Lashon, it was actually Rav Huna who introduced
the Chumra of Bavel from the time that Rav arrived there. Perhaps he meant
that many people came to live in Bavel with the advent of the great Rav.
Alternatively, what he may have meant is - that Rav was the one to teach
them this Halachah (even though they ought to have kept it from the time of
Yechonyah, as we explained in the first Lashon.
(a) A Shevu'a ha'Ben is - a B'ris Milah; whereas a Yeshu'a ha'Ben is - the
Se'udah that one arranges at a Pidyon ha'Ben (because 'Yeshua' means
(b) It was at one of the two that Rav, Shmuel and Rav Asi could not decide
who should enter first. The reason that Shmuel refused to go in before Rav
Asi was - because the latter (who was a disciple of Rav) was greater than
him (even though Shmuel was a Chaver of Rav, and a disciple of Rebbi).
(c) Rav not want to go in before Shmuel, as we shall see. They decided -
that Shmuel should wait outside until the other two had settled inside (and
it is obvious that Rav went in first, followed by Rav Asi.
(d) They did not decide to leave ...
1. ... Rav outside, and let Rav Asi in first and Shmuel second, because Rav
was undoubtedly the greatest of the three, and we will now see why he
refused to enter before Shmuel (but it was obvious that Shmuel would not
enter before him - see Shitah Mekubetzes).
2. ... Rav Asi outside, and let Shmuel in first and Rav second - because as
we just explained, Rav was much greater than Shmuel, and there was no way
that Shmuel would precede him into the Simchah. And the reason that Rav
refused to go in before Shmuel is because having once erroneously cursed
him, he compensated him by giving him a lot of Kavod.
(a) Whilst all this was going on - a cat chewed a child's hand in the
Even though the episode with Rav occurred with a black cat, its mother we
point out, was white, whereas the Beraisa is speaking about a black cat
whose mother too, was black. We reconcile this with Ravina, who asked a
She'eilah whether a black cat whose mother was white is considered black or
white - by establishing the She'eilah by a black cat whose mother was white
but whose grandmother was black, whereas in the case of Rav, both the mother
and the grandmother were white.
(b) This prompted Rav to make four statements about cats: that one is
permitted to kill them and forbidden to keep them - that there is no
prohibition to kill them and that one is not obligated to return them.
(c) Having taught us that ...
1. ... one is permitted to kill cats, he nevertheless found it necessary to
add that one is forbidden to retain them - because we may otherwise have
thought that even though anyone is permitted to kill them, for the owner to
do so is voluntary.
(d) Rav reconciles his statement with Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar (or Rebbi
Yishmael) who, in the Beraisa that we quoted earlier, permits retaining a
cat (among other things), in order to keep away the mice - by establishing
the Beraisa by a black cat, whereas he is speaking about a white one (which
is more vicious).
2. ... that they are not subject to theft, he nevertheless found it
necessary to add that there is no Mitzvah to return them - with reference to
(a) Rav Acha bar Papa, quoting his brother Rav Aba who in turn, was quoting
his brother Rav Ada (or some other combination of the sons of Rav Papa - see
the list of his sons in the text of the Siyum of each Maseches) says that
one blows trumpets when there is a plague of itchy boils. He said that ...
1. ... once a door of opportunity closes - it does not open again so
(b) We need to know the middle Halachah - to know that one needs to pray
hard to regain it.
2. ... if someone buys a house in Eretz Yisrael - one may even document the
sale on Shabbos.
(c) The Beraisa say that, for 'other communal Tzaros, such as boils that
itch, locusts, flies, fleas, snakes and scorpions - one cries out to Hashem,
but one does not blow the trumpets'.
(d) We reconcile Rav Acha bar Papa (who prescribes blowing the trumpets for
boils) with the Beraisa, by citing Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi who said - that
the plague of boils in Egypt were exceptionally bad, inasmuch as the boils
were (wet on the outside but) dry on the inside, whereas the Beraisa is
speaking about boils that are wet on the inside (as well as on the outside).
(a) Mar Zutra explains that the closed door refers to Semichah. According to
Rav Ashi - it could refer to anything.
(b) What caused Rav Acha mi'Difti to add that (not only does the door not
open quickly, but that once it closes) it will never reopen - were his own
unpleasant experiences, since he was appointed to be Rosh Yeshivah, but
somehow, the appointment never materialized.
(a) Rav Acha bar Papa also permits documenting the sale of a house in Eretz
Yisrael on Shabbos. He could not possibly have meant that - because there is
no way (short of when it entails life-danger) that a Tana or Amora would
permit an Isur d'Oraysa, and certainly not one that involves Chillul
(b) What he really meant was - that the Chachamim permitted getting a Nochri
to document it, even though this would normally fall under the category of
'Sh'vus' (an Isur de'Rabbanan).
(c) Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeini says - that if someone buys a town in Eretz
Yisrael, he is obligated to buy a path on each of the four sides, because of
Yishuv Eretz Yisrael.